Chinese literature is the best source of reading for young children, according to the first comprehensive assessment of its quality by a leading international literature academic.
In a report to be published in June, the Centre for Literary Studies at the University of Toronto’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences said that the books and other media available to young people across China were highly varied, including literature that was written in Chinese, but also English, French, Spanish and Russian.
While the study found that many Chinese literature had a positive effect on the development of children’s literacy, its authors said there was no evidence of a strong correlation between the type of Chinese language and children’s development.
“While there is no clear answer as to why Chinese children are particularly good at reading, the fact that their reading ability is more advanced in comparison to other children may have more to do with their upbringing, as well as their cultural heritage,” the report said.
The study found Chinese children had average reading scores of between 5 and 7 on a 100-point scale, with the top score being 7.5.
The highest reading scores were found in the provinces of Shaanxi and Guizhou, with scores of 15 and 17, respectively.
“Chinese children’s reading performance is generally better than their reading scores in English, and this is particularly the case in the countryside, where children are more likely to learn about the different literary styles and genres,” the authors wrote.
“But this does not mean that Chinese children should expect to become literate in all aspects of Chinese literature.
This research suggests that Chinese literature offers children a variety of reading styles that may be suitable for their needs, including the development and retention of new skills.”
The researchers said Chinese children’s comprehension of language and literature was very good, and many children who did not read were likely to continue to read Chinese literature as they got older.
The authors of the report, who included a number of experts from Canada and the United States, said there were some positive signs that Chinese kids were learning the importance of reading, but they were still far from the level of literacy required to be good readers.
The researchers also found that Chinese parents tend to be more satisfied with the way their children read, and that the most common learning strategies were reading, watching and interacting with others.
“Despite the large range of materials available in Chinese literature, we found that parents generally prefer to use books that have been written in English,” they wrote.
The centre’s report, published in a special issue of the Journal of Literary Studies, said that Chinese publishers were not required to publish new literature, and most publishers only published books that had already been translated into Chinese.
However, it also said that it was possible that publishers were producing more material in China to meet growing demand.
The report, which surveyed over 2,500 Chinese children and their parents, said the Chinese language is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious and diverse languages, and there was little difference between the types of literature available.
“There are certainly many ways to read a book in Chinese and most of these will be suitable to young readers,” the researchers wrote.